A Whitehall Whitewash?
The British Government made more requests for content removal from Google last year than any other country in Europe, according to figures released yesterday. Between July and December 2009, Google received 1,166 data requests from British government agencies, of which 59 were requests for content to be removed. Google complied with 76.3 per cent of the removal requests. Britain ranks third in terms of data requests, behind Brazil (3,663) and the United States (3,580), although figures for China are unavailable.
Government censorship of the web is growing rapidly, from the blocking and filtering of sites to court orders limiting access to information. Many of the requests are legitimate, such as for the removal of child pornography, or where information is needed for legitimate criminal investigations. But it’s worrying that a government which had made transparency an election promise should feature so high on the list.